Need of the hour: marketing for Odisha handicrafts

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Placed in the corner of a desk, a dazzling trophy about a foot tall with a hockey stick perched on top, stands out from the rest of the artifacts in a craft show.

The silver filigree artwork, created by Pankaj Sahoo, is a replica of the souvenirs that were given to all players of the 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

The art form, which originated in Cuttack, got the platform it deserved. Its counterparts are waiting behind the scenes for the right kind of marketing.

Chairman of the Odisha Crafts Council (CCO), Santosh Mohapatra, spared a thought on the craftsmanship languishing for lack of patronage and what can be done to revive or preserve it.

People working in crafts have been hit hard by the pandemic.

In the Puri district, places like Raghurajpur, famous for patchitra, or Pipili, known for applique work, have had no visitors for months.

“They had no work to do,” Mohapatra told PTI on the sidelines of the inaugural two-day exhibition, Master Crafters, at the Bhubaneswar Club on Saturday.

Demand for crafts is slowly picking up, but unlike other essential goods, it will take longer, he added.

”It is linked to tourism, which is gradually declining.” The CCO, affiliated to the Crafts Council of India (CCI), presented at the exhibition a range of products like pattachitra, stoneware, applique, hand-woven ikat, dhokra, silver filigrees and shells.

Mohapatra stressed that the CCO should look into areas such as raw materials and designs used to make crafts more marketable. He pointed out that artisans need two things: opportunity and respect.

The head of the CCO explained that since the CCI was not a government organization and had no budget, it would try to collaborate with industries, which can use corporate social responsibility funds.

An official said artisans need to be promoted, supported and provided a platform to market their products globally.

“At the end of the day, marketing is the most important aspect,” she said.

Another official insisted on the need to preserve the intangible heritage of the State.

Handicrafts Department Commissioner Shubha Sharma opened the exhibition, expressing hope that the newly formed council could be an ideal partner in the development of handicrafts.

She stressed that the focus should be on ensuring that products get to market.

Then, added the commissioner, there will be no problem regarding the sale and people will definitely buy good quality items.

“We will try to register as many artisans as possible on e-commerce platforms,” she added.

CCO Secretary Rajib Sahu said people should encourage the industry and buy products so that the sales volume increases and the trade becomes commercially viable.

The council recognized that there were many excellent artisans who needed the opportunity to showcase their products. Many other activities in the fields of design, raw materials and marketing must be carried out in the sector for the development of craftsmanship and the benefit of those concerned.

“The exhibition was a small start, but the journey will be long,” Sahu said.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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